Site Details

descriptions and directions

Cottonwood Marsh photo by Peter Burke

Waterton Canyon - Jefferson County
Aliases: Strontia Springs Reservoir
Ownership: None Listed
Description: For being as close to Chatfield as it is, Waterton Canyon hosts a dramatically different set of habitats. Species that very rarely occur at Chatfield are common here, such as Canyon Wren and, higher up, Pygmy Nuthatch. The riparian habitat in the lower part of the canyon might be worth a look for migrants in season, and the expected breeding species such as Bullock's Oriole, Yellow Warbler, House Wren and maybe even a Least Flycatcher during the summer. The thick foothills scrub on the hillsides is excellent for Virginia's Warbler, Yellow-breasted Chat, Lazuli and possibly Indigo Buntings and Spotted Towhee. A pair or two of American Dippers can usually be found along the river with a bit of searching.

A little further up the habitat blends into Ponderosa woodland, and species more typical of this habitat start appearing, such as Hairy Woodpecker, Pygmy and Red-breasted Nutatches, Pine Siskin and others. The canyon slowly rises the further upstream you go, and eventually you will reach a small reservoir, Strontia Springs Reservoir. This is usually as far as most people hike. The upper part of this hike can sometimes produce Northern Pygmy-Owl during the winter, and the lower portions host Eastern Screech-Owl, but both owls are exceedingly hard to find.

During the entire hike you should hear many Rock and Canyon Wrens, see a ton of White-throated Swifts zooming overhead (in summer), and maybe even see a Prairie Falcon or Golden Eagle soaring on the thermals.

Habitat: Foothill Shrub, Lowland Riparian, Ponderosa Forest, Mixed-Conifer Forest
Directions: Take the Wadsworth exit off of C-470 and follow it south past the entrance for Chatfield, to a left turn onto Waterton Rd. Go left and drive to the second parking lot on the left. The entrance to the Canyon is across the road; be careful when trying to cross this busy road.
Other Wildlife:
Other Attractions:

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CBRC Records from Waterton Canyon

SpeciesAccession No.Date(s)
Swallow-tailed Kite10-83-254/7/1983 - 5/24/1983
Harris's Hawk10-94-1712/17/1994 - 12/23/1994
Thick-billed Kingbird34-92-1010/23/1992
Alder Flycatcher34-96-446/25/1996
Black Phoebe2015-145 07/14/2015
White-eyed Vireo51-74-1039/21/1974
Wood Thrush44-84-4812/15/1984
Common Redpoll2002-192/17/2002
Golden-crowned Sparrow56-75-312/19/1974 - 1/4/1975
Worm-eating Warbler52-73-124/29/1967 - 4/30/1967
Blue-winged WarblerN-52-435/9/1970 - 5/10/1970
Yellow-throated Warbler52-74-324/30/1974 - 5/1/1974
Prairie WarblerN-52-515/10/1975
Canada Warbler52-74-1119/28/1974